Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires Grande Cuvée Réserve De Noël – Spiced Red Lager at 10% ABV

Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires Grande Cuvée Réserve De Noël Spiced Red Lager at 10% ABV ($13.97 at NLC Howley Estates  750ml, bottle date 6-Nov-2014)

Pours clear deep amber with a one finger of light tan head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, no lacing. (4/5) Nose is strongly spicy ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, medicinal hops. (8/10) Taste is moderately strong sweet, mild bitter. (8/10) Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, mildly bitter warming finish. (4/5)

I like it. It’s so heavily spiced that it actually reminds me of ginger beer – but I like ginger beer! The ABV is very well-integrated (or perhaps masked by the spice) to the point that this is a seriously dangerous tipple. I’ve yet to have an LTM brew I didn’t like, and this is no exception. I’d go so far as to say that this could well be the best lager I’ve ever had. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Penpont Brewery Chateau Civrac Old Ale – Old Ale at 7.5% ABV

Penpont Brewery Chateau Civrac Old Ale Old Ale at 7.5% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #3, 330ml, best before 1/2016)

Pours clear pale to medium amber with one finger of loose light tan head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Nose is caramel malt, grassy and earthy hops, mild fruit. (6/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderately strong bitter, vinous and oaky astringency. (7/10) Medium body tending to the watery, low carbonation, lingering and building bitter finish, slight warming. (3/5)

I’d’ve called this more a bitter than an old ale. I don’t get a lot of the supposed wild yeast character, either – perhaps a little tartness midway through, but I think it’s more present in the bitterness of the finish, which seems to combine bitterness from both hops and wild yeast, along with the woody winey tones. The ABV is integrated to the point of being essentially undetectable except as a very mild warming starting halfway through the bottle. (14/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bellwoods Brewery Lambda (2014) – Abt / Quad at 11% ABV

Bellwoods Brewery Lambda (2014) Abt / Quad at 11% ABV (Via trade, 500ml, bottle date 21-Mar-2014)

Pours clear deep ruby with a fluffy tan head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, no lacing. (4/5) Nose is complex – dark fruit, figs, raisins, brown sugar, vinous oak. (10/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate sour. (9/10) Full body, prickly carb, mildly funky sour warming finish. (4/5)

Great – complex boozy quad, but the ABV doesn’t intrude. I was expecting more brett funk, but it’s actually extremely mild – most of the complexity is red wine oakiness. Very, very good. I’m starting to think Bellwoods might actually justify living in The Big Smoke. (17/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Teerenpeli Panimo & Tislaamo Teerenpeli Hippaheikki – ESB at 4.7% ABV

Teerenpeli Panimo & Tislaamo Teerenpeli Hippaheikki ESB at 4.7% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #2, 330ml, best before 2/2015)

Pours clear pale gold with a short, short-lived white head, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is crackery and biscuity malt, grassy hops, faint fruit and citrus. (6/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderately strong bitter. (7/10) Light to medium body, low carbonation, lingering and building bitter finish. (3/5)

A fairly standard light ESB, with perhaps a little more emphasis on the bitter, and pleasantly low sweetness. The body, yeast, and malt are all quite light for the style. Pleasant enough with dinner, but not really worth looking for again. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Nøgne Ø (Hansa Borg) God Advent – Winter Warmer at 10% ABV

Nøgne Ø (Hansa Borg) God Advent Winter Warmer at 10% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #1, 250ml, bottle date 26-Mar-2014, best before 26-Mar-2018)

Pours hazy medium to deep amber with a short light tan head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is toffee malt, dark fruit, yeast, some pine resin. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, mild alcohol. (7/10) Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter and spicy finish with a distinct alcohol warming. (4/5)

Nice boozy winter warmer. Good balance of toffee sweetness and mild pine resin hops, with dark boozy fruit. I figure a winter warmer should be a dark boozy fruitcake in a glass, and this is pretty much that. A good start to the advent calendar! (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com